Thursday, September 11, 2008

smoke rises

i cannot let this day pass
without remembering its significance.

(just before the collapse)

september 11, 2001

dressed in a gray 3/4 length sleeved tee, my ralph lauren weekenders, and steel-toed metatarsals, i walked into the administrative building where our office was located. not unlike any other day, my boss, tl, asked if i wanted to go have a "smoke"...


i said, "sure, let's go, but let me get me a grab a cupppa coffee first..." ("having a smoke" at the company where we were working was more like "hanging out around the water cooler".)

i grabbed a cuppa, and we headed out of the building. as we did so, tl held the door for one of the accountants, who was arriving for work. "have you all heard that an airplane just hit one of the towers?" pam asked.

jack, who was joining us for "a smoke" said he had heard about it...
no details.

we walked out onto the patio. preoccupied, i drank my coffee. tl, jack, and pat smoked and talked. i heard them talking but really wondered what tower the airplane had hit. i didn't realize pam and jack were referring to one of the towers at the world trade center and the airplane was in fact a large jet.

shortly thereafter, pam stuck her head out the door and informed us a second plane had crashed into a second tower. as my three co-workers quickly extinguished three cigarette butts in a sand-filled ashtray located outside the office door, 
it dawned on me...
the world trade center?! the four of us hurried back into the building.

i followed tl into our office, which was also the company's information center (where cnn headline news constantly looped) for the company's telemonitors . tl and i just stood there in stunned silence, horrified. our co-workers, rhonda and sue, arrived. none of us could believe what was happening.

we heard our fellow employees start to gather in the lobby to watch the news. we walked out to join them.

more breaking news: "the pentagon has been hit!"

concurrently, a maintenance man walked into the lobby from the factory. he looked over his shoulder and exclaimed, "guys, this is not a terrorist attack-
these are acts of war!"

false reports ensued: "we are getting unofficial reports that the white house and the capitol building have also been hit!"

in what seemed like slow motion, i panned the room. the looks of shock, horror, and disbelief encompassed the faces of everyone, respectively. i backed around the corner and into the empty hallway to catch my breath. i noticed a facilitator was teaching a class across the hall from where i stood. the instructor looked at my face obviously wondering what was happening. i walked toward the door as he opened it.

"we are under attack..." i heard the words come from my mouth. "they have hit the world trade center, the pentagon, the white house, and the capitol building."
the gentleman turned away from me, uttered something, and dismissed his class.
i rejoined tl, rhonda, and sue. we made our way back into our office. in complete silence, we sat staring at the monitor.

"tl, what is going on?" i asked. "there's smoke coming from the bottom of that building?! smoke rises; something is not right!"

tl shrugged his shoulders, "i don't know, but, you're right."

within seconds the building began to collapse!
what i had noticed wasn't smoke at all:
 it was dust from the impending collapse
 i had witnessed pouring from the lobby floor of the south tower.

knowing i was going to accomplish nothing, 
i put away my work, grabbed my phone and keys, 
and told my co-workers i would see them 
in the morning ("God willing," i thought to myself).

i needed to go talk to Him, 
to God.
so, i drove directly to church.
once there, 
i went into our sanctuary,
made my way to the altar,
and began to pray.

that tuesday will forever be etched in my mind,

and those same prayers will forever be in my heart...

they are still here today.

love and GOD'S blessings,
dani xxx


Tabitha said...

So great to have you back Dani ~ I have missed you soooo much!!

I remember that day too ~ Sep 11th 2001 ~ I was pregnant with Lauren and remember watching Sky news in horror as the second plane hit ~ like you ~ that day will be forever etched on my mind too!!

Hope that all is well with you over there ~ love and hugs Tab XXX

Little Sweethearts said...

It's so good to have you back!!

7 years have passed already, and still I can remember the images and the stories of that day.

Love and hugs,

linda said...

It's amazing how each of us can remember every single detail of that horrific day.

Dani, to this day I still think about the thousands of lives lost...think about their family's that were left behind, about the children without parents, and about how horrific it must have been for all who perished.

No, we will never ever forget what happened on that day.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy you're back. I've missed you.
I love your thoughts about 9/11.
My mind isn't much on the day, as I'm just focused on IKE. And YES, he's coming straight for us this time!!! And NO, we not evacuating, but hunkering down!!! Gotta say...I'm a bit scared, but calm too.
Thanks for the worry and prayers!

Bren's Life said...

I missed you. Glad your back. Your story gave me chills. Thanks for sharing it.

Shannon said...

I remember the day very clearly. I was on Honeysuckle Lane. Sam was sitting in his high chair and I was feeding him and making a video for his grandparents. I'm sure in the background of the video is the chaos happening on TV.
I called Pete at work. SDS was completely quiet...every person standing in front of a TV. All of us in complete shock.

Thanks for posting this today!
Glad to have ya back!

Amanda said...

It's so nice to have you back!!
I will always remember were i was on 9/11/01. I was also just about 8 weeks pregnant with the Twins.

I just can't believe it's been 7 years. We visited NYC in Nov 2000.
We went up those towers too. We did go back to NY in 2003 and visited Ground Zero ~ call it morbid curiosity, but i just had to see were it happened. There was a list of all the names of the dead and it brought a tear to my eye. Actually seeing all those names just made it all so much more real to me.

Sending ((hugs)) to you.
Amanda xxxx

Jan said...

I still get scared when I read about it and hear about it. I just can't seem to shake that feeling and guess what, I don't want too. I want to remember what that day felt like. Thanks for sharing your story Dani.

dani said...

we are all fine; thank you, tabitha:) hope you are able to sleep tonight!!!

dani said...

hi, tania:)
it's so good to be back online; i was beginning to wonder if it was going to happen:?

dani said...

i didn't put this in my actual post; but one of the most horrible realizations of that day was when it hit me that it was people jumping from the towers and not debris i saw falling...
there are no words awful enough to express what we witnessed...

dani said...

oh, jenn, i'm going to put my mother cap on now and tell you...
it's ok; i know you CAN do it!!! but, if you decide to leave, that's ok, too:)

dani said...

thank you, bren:)
i get chills everytime i think about that day seven years ago...

dani said...

shannon, i bet you could have walked in any business and seen the same sight... people in horrified disbelief.
i hope no one has to EVER witness anything like that again!!!

dani said...

thank you, amanda:)
the last 7 years have been a real blur to me... i think 9/11 did something to me that i don't even realize... i'm sure it's done a number on all of us!!!
i'm sure it was a real hallow feeling you had upon visiting ground zero... as i haven't made myself do that just yet.

dani said...

i don't want to forget it either, jan, though i wish i could erase the fact that it ever happened!!! i don't think i felt scared... just totally numb!!! i still feel numb when i think about it and continue to wonder, "why???"

meganxxx said...

I rember that awful day too Dani-Lily was only 4 months old and I was up late feeding her watching the news. The newsreader went all funny and then it just went on from there...

I remember being worried about my friends husband Craig as i knew he worked in NYC (of course no idea where) and i could not get through to them. (he was ok but they knew of many who weren't).

The worst part was I thought about all those families and those poor frightened people.

And then i wondered about what type of world i myself had just bought a new life into.

Glad to have you back, hope all is well
Lots of love


The Adventures of Maverick & the Mrs. said...

First and foremost, all of those A. workers are some of the nicest people ever, huh? :) I remember sitting at my desk in my little cubicle at Shoe Carnival's home office when people rushed into my cube and told me to turn on my radio. (I had one so I could rock out with my headphones and forget that I was working in Hell. Oops. I mean Shoe Carnival.) We all sat there with our mouths hanging wide open--absoulutely horrified when we heard planes coming in to land at the airport. I still feel as shocked today as I did then.

rhonda said...

you have such an amazing memory.....i remember everything now!!!

rhonda said...

oh. and by the way..neither t.l. or i have "a smoke" any longer!!! YAY.

Michelle A. said...

It was such a terrible day and one that I hope never occurs again. I had just moved from DC to Utah and felt that I was out of things while people I knew were dealing with loss. I remember having to take my husband to work in between the first and second planes and coming home to watch the towers colapse. I remember praying a lot too - who couldn't help it. Take care Dani. Love, Michelle

dani said...

dear megan, how releaved you must have been to realize that your friend, craig, was, indeed, alright!!!
there are days that i still wonder about "the world", and then i remember all the good that still exists...

dani said...

christina, listening to the planes coming in had to be sobering... i know "no planes flying", PERIOD!!!, was.
may it never happen again to anyone...

dani said...

i know, r:) and i am SOOOOOOOOOOO proud of both of you for giving up the addiction!!!
i wonder if t still goes out for one???

dani said...

michelle, i cannot even imagine having had friends nor family in dc/nyc... i'm so sorry you had to go through that.

Anonymous said...

Dani, My brother worked at the Pentagon, he lost 42 friends that day...

dani said...

anonymous, i don't know who you are; but i hope you come back and visit... i am soooooo sorry! i hope he is doing well as that would have had to have been an emotional trauma like no other. how utterly heartbreaking.